Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Love of a Lifetime

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love,
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
I Corinthians 13:1

"How are you feeling, Mom?"
I spoke into the phone.

"Not too good, Cheryl."
My mother-in-law's voice was weak on the other end.

"John is here with me.
He drove himself over to see me."

"He did what???"

Dad Smith should not drive.
At almost 88 years old, he has pretty much given it up over the past couple of years.
To imagine him getting in that car and driving that distance
just about sent me reeling.

He not only endangers himself, but everyone else he comes in contact with on the road.

But, he could find no other get to her.

So, bless his determined heart, he did what he had to do....
to go and sit with the one he has loved for over 53 years.

I don't know if I have ever seen two people more devoted to each other
than the two of them.

They are precious and have a great relationship.

The other day, Kevin and I were walking around the flea market,
and we ran into a couple that go to their church.
We stopped to chat with them,
and, naturally, our conversation went to Mom and Dad.

She said,
"Some of us sit in church and watch them walk in sometimes.
They are always arm in arm..
helping each other along.
As we watch them, every now and then one of the ladies will say,
I want that."

Who wouldn't?
Their love is strong, enduring, never counting the cost.

We went together and bought Dad a porch swing for Fathers Day.
During our recent visit there, I would often be looking for him and find him out there....
missing her....wishing she was there, sitting by his side.
He seemed so lost.

I would peek out at him from inside the house and nearly cry.
It is beyond pitiful.

For over 53 years, she has...
cooked his meals,
washed his clothes,
paid his bills,
ironed his shirts and pants,
baked his cakes and pies,
hugged and kissed him good-night.

Over the past several, she's had to pick up more of the slack...
filling his CPAP machine with water before he lays down each night,
and dealing with more and more of the unpleasant side-effects of growing old.

I have never heard her complain.
I've seen her push herself to the point of exhaustion...
time after time...
just so he had what he needed.

Being there in their home without her, trying to fill her shoes,
I got a better idea of what she has actually been dealing with.
My respect for her soared....even higher.

Right before her last hospital visit,
she begged Kevin's sister to please never allow
him to be placed in a nursing home.

I honestly think she wondered whether or not she would ever leave the hospital again.
The biggest fear on her mind was what would happen to Dad,
should the Lord call her home.

God blessed her to be released from the hospital,
but they have as of yet been unable to go back home.

Lori is such a loving daughter.
So loyal and kind.
She is giving them the best of care in her home.

We keep hoping...praying with all our might...
that Mom will be well enough soon to resume normal life.

"Cheryl, we keep asking God to give us more time...
in our little house on the hill", she has told me more than once.

I pray....beg Him often...that He will do just that.

Everything is so uncertain and unsettled.

Today, I broke down and cried...hard.
It hit me how much all of our lives will change....
should Mom and Dad not be able to continue living
in the house that has been a haven to me for so many years.

I could never put into words what it has meant to me to go there.

The other day, I stood on the front porch and looked up into the heavens,
thanking God from the depths of my soul
for allowing us to be more time.

I called Lori today.
She was their home...gathering some of their belongings
to take back to her house.

"Lori, I just want them to be well enough to go back home.
There are so many that house.
I'm just not ready for any of this."

"I know, Cheryl.  I know.
Keep your chin up."

She is so understanding.
Such a dear sister-in-law.
Such a cherished, true-to-the-core friend.

I am beyond blessed to have her in my life.

We are getting through this...together.

The other day, as some of us were visiting,
Mom brought me a pile of love letters...
all carefully wrapped together,
yellowed with age,
written years ago,
when they were courting each other, from a distance.

She wanted to share them with Zachary, Austin, and me.
The significance of the honor didn't escape me.
Dad was napping, as we read their memories.
We had to hurry to read them while he slept.
He is very private.

I felt like I was peering into something sacred...and rare.
Without her blessing, I would never have dared...
to tread on ground so intimate.
I had never seen that side of him he opened his soul...
to the one who would soon become his wife.
He was quite the romantic back then.
Through the years, the enchantment of romance may have faded.
The love remains.
Strong.  Deep.  True.

 Mom and Dad Smith have a love that is unconditional.
It is far-reaching...and long-lasting.
It is the love of a lifetime.
Precious and rare.

They rely and depend upon each other.
More and more time goes by....
and life becomes more challenging.

I honestly don't know what either of them would do....
without the other.

When I think of them and the devotion they share for each other after all these years,
I am reminded of I Corinthians 13.

"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love."

I am forever grateful for the qualities they instilled in the love of my life...
both by training and example.
Kevin is the man he is today all because his parents fell in love...
and they stuck it out...through thick and thin.

Theirs is the kind of love that doesn't come along every day.
One that is unchanging.
Loyal and devoted.

The love of a lifetime.


  1. How precious. When I was reading this I was thinking of my own parents and grandparents. I have such a treasure in several generations of couples who loved each other for better or for worse until death parts. It is a gift that few people have today.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and dropping me an email!

    1. Gina, Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind! You are so right. Such few people really stick it out and are in it for the long haul these days. They miss SO much, don't they? I appreciated and enjoyed your blog. God's peace be with you, Cheryl

  2. This is so sweet. Not only do they love each other, they are loved by their family. Thank you for writing this, Cheryl.

    Love, Deborah

    1. Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words! You are such a blessing to me. :~) I trust all is well with you, my friend. Love, Cheryl

  3. Hi Cheryl, I have just read this blog, and I deeply appreciate it...That is the knd of love that Grady and I had, and were married almost 47 years before his passing, and we would still be together had he lived, and we would have had our 67th anniversary this past March 5th....This kind of love is seldom found in today's world, but it is precious to have known such love and devotion.... Thanks again, and do keep up the good work... Love y'all...Margaret and Elaine

    1. My dear sisters, I was so happy to see your sweet comment tonight! I have tried so hard to email you and cannot get it to go through. I am so thankful God gave you and your dear husband a marriage that was so good and endearing. I feel so sad that you now walk without him, but one day you will meet him again in glory, where there will be no more good-byes! Please do keep stopping by...I am so blessed that you enjoy the devotionals. I love you both, Cheryl

  4. I lost my beloved husband of 40 years two years ago. We have that enduring love. SONG OF SOLOMON 8:6-7

    1. I am SO sorry, Trish! I know you still miss him terribly. So thankful you have that enduring love, and I trust God will comfort you in every moment of grief. Thank you so much for stopping by. :)

  5. Cheryl, my computer is acting up. This is the 2nd time I've tried to comment on this post. Well, I just read this post, and it is so precious and full of love. Knowing that y'all are there now helping Kevin's parents leaves me with a feeling that I can't find the words for. I just want you all to know that I am praying for all of you. Please let Kevin's parents know that there is a lady named Chris who fell in love with them through your post and their pictures. Give them a hug from me. I'm not there, but I sense that the sweet presence of the Lord is there with you all in a mighty way. I pray that He will minister to the needs of the moment, and that each of you have a very blessed Thanksgiving.
    Love ya!

    1. Oh, Chris! How sweet and precious are your words! Thank you ever so much for this dear comment. I am so grateful to you for your constant encouragement and love. I trust the Lord will bless all of you with a wonderful Thanksgiving, also. I am SO sorry Connie is not home and life cannot resume to normal for all of you and her dear girls. Please give them a big hug for me, and let them know that I am still praying and believing God for the miracle their mama needs. Love you, sweet friend!